In any relationship, communicating and and lots of interacting, in and of themselves, do not ensure that you will feel emotionally, mentally, or spiritually connected all the time. That is unrealistic.

Take the example of Pete and Barb

Pete’s role model was his dad, a verbally abusive alcoholic. While Pete was neither abusive nor alcoholic, under stress, such as when Barb thought they needed to spend money on the kid’s winter boots and finances were tight—not knowing another way—Pete reverted to the hostile refusal to discuss things he’d seen his dad use while growing up. At first Barb tried to reason with him, but over time she became more and more timid. Their relationship deteriorated. It didn’t matter how big or small the issue or topic, they could not talk or connect on almost anything.

In desperation, they turned to me and coaching in the Big Picture Partnering way. They learned the steps and tools of this approach and worked hard to change a relationship gone sour.

The work didn’t always feel good. Nor was it easy to talk—but they did not want to sacrifice their years together. They didn’t regenerate their longed-for, in-love feelings for many months as they talked through even the most mundane things they had been unable to previously discuss. Gradually however, trust developed, and a new sense of closeness grew as they consistently applied the tools of Big Picture Partnering.

While Pete and Barb are an extreme example of a couple in pain, In my experience when couples are committed to making the change, they are often able to turn a difficult relationship around with help. They create a new, stronger relationship, having come through hard times and learning new skills and tools they apply together.



Reflect on your own relationship.


Dr. Jan Hoistad